Monday, December 14, 2015

Introducing: Rebekah Raymond

Good morning Bookworm Nation!

I have the best job in the world. Writing is both frustrating and rewarding. The path I chose, like many others have, puts me in the position to meet some absolutely wonderful people. Rebekah Raymond is a new to me author, and she's recently released her debut novel!

Now you can get to know her as well!




Rebekah Raymond is a born and bred Canadian, currently living in Calgary, Alberta. Her debut thriller, Life’s Defeat, was launched October 7 both online and at a bookstore (Owl’s Nest and Books) in Calgary.


Raymond is an insomniac (which lends itself well to the writing of large novels), is married to her high school sweetheart, and a mother to a seven year old girl and almost two year old boy. She is an avid trekkie and Sci-fi buff, and has been writing science fiction and fantasy through a number of online platforms for years. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (major in drawing), an Academic Strategist certificate, and has worked in many, many jobs. She also has some very unique (and some qualitatively regular) experiences: guarding rooms for celebrity singers through a security job, playing instruments and singing in groups for 10+ years, working with students with handicaps of various kinds, observing and drawing cadavers when she was earning her degree….

She credits her current literary success to her very supportive husband, eager friends and family, an amazing editor, and a few extremely worthwhile friends who push her in both her writing and her attitude of writing. 



Here's my interview with her :) 

Tell us a little about yourself and your debut novel.

I am a born and bred Canadian, living in Calgary, Alberta (Canada). I am an insomniac (which lends itself well to the writing of large novels), married to my high school sweetheart, and a mother to a seven year old girl and 20 month old boy. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, an Academic Strategist certificate, and have worked in many, many jobs. I also have some very unique (and some qualitatively regular) experiences: guarding rooms for celebrity singers when I did security, playing instruments and singing for years and years, working with students with handicaps of various kinds, observing and drawing cadavers when I was earning my degree.
My debut thriller, Life’s Defeat, was launched October 7 both online and at a bookstore (Owl’s Nest Books) here in Calgary. Life’s Defeat is a psychological thriller, bordering on horror (or so I’m told). It takes place hundreds of years after WW3, when the governments have given up on military support, and leave their people to their own devices. The story centers around a young woman, raised and trained within a school. She is made into a vigilante soldier, under the command of StPatrick, the schools headmaster and vigilante faction's commander.
The young woman is captured by the times mastermind, tortured and killed, again and again. Eventually she is rescued, a broken and bruised husk of the woman she once was. And from there her journey continues...

How did the idea come to you?

To be honest, Life's Defeat started out as a short story I wrote probably back in 2012 so I don't remember exactly where it came from. I can tell you that many of my storylines come from dreams, even just a little bit. From there it is mostly automatic writing to continue, letting the stories develop themselves.

Personally, I know that the research involved in any storyline can be extensive or light. How much research went into Life’s Defeat?

 To start it was light. I didn't bother doing too much until after my first draft was written. After that I read a lot of books and articles on post traumatic stress, discussed weapons with a friend in the US Army, and watched endless videos on hand-to-hand combat. So, after all was said and done, there was a fair amount of research that went into it.

What has been the hardest part in the writing process for you?

 This may sound silly, but letting go is actually the hardest part for me. What I mean is that my characters are very ethereal in how they move through me into the story and back. Because much of my work is written through automatic writing, the characters pretty much write their own lives down, and sometimes I find myself stopping, reading what has been written, and wanting to rewrite a portion due to someone dying, an emotion not being quite right, etc.
I am trying to learn to trust my characters as they outpour their lives to me, but it is so hard.

Hypothetically, let’s say that you have just had an amazing idea come to you, right now. Walk me through your process of getting started:

First, if it were possible, I would grab my iPad and just start writing. Whether that means quick jot notes of a storyline or actually dialogue and description depends on where I am and how much time I have. Later when I have more time I would flesh out those ideas, reread them and lay them down into cohesive work. And if I didn’t have my iPad? I would just make notes on my phone or scratch them down on a piece of paper. I always have some kind of writing device handy...
  
What is your perfect writing environment?

 Dark room, comfy couch to sprawl on, unlimited music choices at my fingertips..

It’s been said before, and I agree completely, that we writers leave pieces of ourselves in our work. Have your noticed this? If so, what is something that you left in Life’s Defeat?

In the book I left a bit of physical ache. The soldier is injured badly, leaving her body worse for wear, and her leg gibbled. Although I am not entirely hindered by it, I have a problem with the muscles on my own leg, which means I am almost always sore or in pain, and sometimes limp. Somehow making this strong, independent woman have a physical disability similar to mine made me feel better somehow. Although, misery does love company…

What is your favorite quote?

 “If you are always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be”
--Maya Angelou

Who is your author role model?

I really love Diana Gabaldon. I haven't read all of her books, but I met her this summer at a writing conference and she was the nicest, most down to earth person. So humble. And hearing her talk about her writing was amazing – she truly believes in writing what you love and not taking crap from anyone about your ideas. It was truly inspiring.

Life’s Defeat is in the Thriller genre, and you said it was suggested by readers that maybe it should be in Horror, that got me thinking. What’s the creepiest or scariest line you’ve written? 

His heavy body went rigid a moment before going slack, his head flopping from the broken neck. I blinked, coming back to myself. It had been a delusion, the murder a hallucination of my increasingly unstable mind.

If I were to come visit you in Calgary, tell me three of your favorite places that you would say I HAVE to see before leaving.

1    1)   The Calgary Stampede – while it is only a ten day event once a year, it IS the biggest outdoor show on earth and is a pretty amazing undertaking that dominates the entire city. It isn't necessarily my favourite, but it is quite the sight!
    2)   Owl’s Nest Books – this is the bookstore where my book is selling and while it is small, it has an amazing collection of books, both local and international.
3    3)    Heritage park – a historical park where old buildings have been transported and regrouped into its own little town. The staff Is in character the entire time, the sights are educational and entertaining, and it is amazing to behold the little piece of history come alive.

Do you have any strange writing habits?

 Aside from the automatic writing, which apparently isn't all that strange, I think I am a fairly “normal” writer.

When I was little, I liked reading, but it wasn’t a strong like. I had more fun playing outside and getting into trouble. Somewhere in middle school I began to hate reading. Part of the curriculum was reading books that usually didn’t interest me much or the teacher wanted us to only read a few chapters at a time. It wasn’t until high school that I would feel love toward books again. The book that reopened that door was The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. What is the book that made you fall in love with literature?

 Oh boy, that is impossible to answer! I remember looking forward to the kids fairy tales printed in the paper every weekend, I remember falling in love with Edgar Allen Poe and Shakespeare at a really young age. I just LOVE language. So I really don't think I could narrow it down to just one. Although I do distinctly remember one story striking me when I was little, that stayed with me always. It was “The Gift of the Magi”. So heartbreaking and tender.

What is the best advice you were given regarding writing?

 “There are no rules.”

Is there anything you wish you were told before publishing Life’s Defeat?

 I wish I was told how hard waiting for reviews would be. I never understood until I was published how important those little tidbits of people's opinions were. I wish someone had told me.

When you make time for reading, what is your go to genre?

 I would say paranormal or science fiction. Both together, if possible.

Thank you so much for joining me Rebekah! Congrats on your debut! I look forward to seeing more from you in the future!



Isn't she lovely? I so enjoyed speaking with her and I am so happy that she contacted me! 

Now, here's a little more about Life's Defeat:







Tragedy places the soldier in StPatrick’s complex, determination to be someone of use keeps her within its walls. When she finally takes her first breaths of freedom, the soldier is sucked back into military servitude, her long, violent capture and imprisonment by Rochester setting her path of physical and psychological terror.
Under his rule she learns the depth of her own depravity, and how far she can go before she threatens to lose herself. But when Tomlin and his team rescues her, she discovers a new threat in the life she chooses to lead.
As the pages of her genetically-altered history are revealed, the solider finds the key to achieving her new goal: revenge.
It’s unfortunate it might just kill her in the end.


This Psychological thriller will lead you to the depths of despair with this young woman, then back as she finds peace, love, and resolution once more.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Another Question & Another Answer


Question: I like writing but I don't know how to make my ideas pop you know. I think authors are so amazing, to keep there ideas flowing and Yh. It's awesome. I know you probably get blocks but how do you keep it going? How do you keep it fresh lol.


Writer’s block SUCKS. I handle that in a wide range of ways. Sometimes I ignore the story completely. Other times, I've put the characters in a genre-opposite scenario just to see what they do. Aisling has been in a space ship manned by blob-like aliens, in Paris to figure out the metro on her own, and a quick substitute for a daycare instructor that needed to use the facilities. (I could post those at some point. They're kind of amusing.) Other times, I get stuck because a previous scene has a flaw that makes the current situation not feel right. That's preferable over being stuck, stuck. I've been so stuck that it's like watching a silent movie. I've also been so stuck that I see and feel nothing. No urges, no nudges. Coming back from that is trickier. I'm not sure how I managed that, but I know it was difficult. Some days I added zero words, others I'd add a whole paragraph. 
As for the other part of the question, how I keep it fresh? I read, listen to music, and just be live my life. I haven’t been unfortunate in the idea department. Inspiration can come from a conversation, a phrase, a song, a lyric or graffiti painted on a passing train, you just have to pay attention. Part of who I am is paying attention to little things, details, body language…It’s just me being me. The real struggle is determining which idea is new and not just another scene in an already started idea. I don’t always get a name attached to a stray thought like that. One thing I do is write notes; napkin, notebook, the notes app on my phone, etc. Sometimes it leads to finding things I don’t remember writing.
From the time I first started writing, I never expected to finish anything or publish it. The first story I tried writing was something that happened to me in high school. I didn’t get far with it before I tossed the whole journal into the trash. Then, I didn’t write at all for a while. It was random when True Connection came to me. It wasn’t something I expected or planned for. I didn’t expect to finish it or publish it or even tell anyone in my life that I was writing. It was a complete whim. Since then, I’ve heard many writers say that they have a hard time sticking to one idea and seeing it through. It’s hard work to get to THE END. It’s rewarding and scary. I keep short goals for myself; get to a certain word count in a week, finish a particular scene, etc. Sometimes I need a break from a storyline or character, and that’s when I work on some other shiny ideas. I write big books, so I spend a lot of time with one set of characters for a chunk of time. I get that bored feeling every not and then, even though it’s not a boring story. I feel stale being in one “environment” for too long. I’ll read then, too. I usually go on reading binges every week or every other week. I try to read at least one book a week, but that one book tends to spur a reading binge. I’ll read six books or so in a night. It’s a good recharge for me to get lost in someone else’s words and world. A good “fog clearer.” I tend to stay away from the genre I’m writing. Example: Twisted Destiny is YA Paranormal. I'll read contemporary or another genre until I move on.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask me! I love answering questions as much as I love to ask them! :)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Introducing... T.E. Ridener

This week I've had the pleasure to interview T.E. Ridener! She's such a delight to talk to!



Hi T.E.! Thank you for agreeing to let me pick your brain ;)


1. To start off, can you tell us a little about yourself?

Well, my name is Tonya and I recently turned 30.  Unlike most of my peers I’ve actually been looking forward to the big 3-0 and I anticipate lots of awesome things happening his year.  I live in a small town in Kentucky.  We’re famous for our fried chicken and the Cumberland Falls!  I like to consider myself a mult-genre author and a complete weirdo.  But I’m one of the best weirdos, I promise.  I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember and reading for even longer.  I’m a total book nerd. I love books.

2. Three facts about yourself that we can’t find in your bio :)

1. I can touch my tongue to my nose.

2. I am terrified of fish.

3. I cannot and will not watch the Saw movies.  They really freak me out.

3. You’ve been publishing stories for a few years now, at what point did you truly feel like an author?
 For me, I’d say I truly felt like an author when I received my first message from a reader and they told me how much they enjoyed my book.  I love getting messages like that and it really encourages me to keep writing because you never know who you may influence in the process.

4. What is something you wish you were told before publishing your first novel?
     I wish someone would have told me how crazy this ride can be.  There’s so much more good than bad, I swear!  It’s a lot of hard work.  You always have to promote your stories and get them out there for readers to find.  That’s not always easy, but it’s so worth it.  The one thing I would like to tell new authors is to be careful.  Other authors (not all of them!) may act like your friend, but they really aren’t.  They want to see you do good, but never better than them.  Remember that.  I am a firm believer we should lift each other up in this business.  Celebrate one another’s successes.  Don’t belittle anyone for having the same dream as you.  We’re all in this together.  /No one/ is my competition.  Don’t ever get into that mindset.  Please.

5. How do you kick writer’s block to the curb?
     Sometimes I don’t.  Sometimes it’s just inevitable and I have to step away for a few days to let my mind clear.  But I have found that reading (definitely reading!), watching TV or a good movie can help.  I usually have about five projects, or more, going on at once, so I avoid the dreaded ‘Creative Wall’ as much as possible.

6. Do you think the world of literature needs more of anything?
I absolutely believe we need more diverse books.  Don’t be afraid to be different.

7. Five authors that have inspired you or are thankful for:

1 R.L. Stine will be the only big time author I’ll mention here.  And I have to be thankful for him because he’s the one who made me want to become an author myself.  I always loved his stories and he really broadened my imagination as a kid.

2  T.J. Loveless because she showed me the ropes when not many others were willing to.  She’s been such a great friend and an excellent mentor.  I don’t even think she realizes how much I admire her, but I really do!

3  Elle Vanzandt because she is one of my dearest friends and she gave me a brilliant idea to help get other authors’ names out there.  It’s seriously brilliant.  You can find out in my next release, 90 Days, or go read her book “Love Me Steady” to find out what I’m talking about.  I think it’s going to be the new thing in indie publishing.   And also because she basically reads every story chapter by chapter and helps me get out of sticky situations.  She’s amazing like that.

4  Ellie Hart because she is always writing for awareness whether it’s about autism, bullying, or faith.  She pours her heart into her words and I just love that about her.  I wish she got more exposure.

5  Suanne Laqueur! Her writing is truly poetic and her personality is so great.  I just love her to bits.  She’s really going to go places. I can feel it.


8. What is the strangest thing you do while writing?
I talk to myself.  A lot.  I usually speak the dialogue as it’s being written and I use the accents.  My family has gotten used to this.

9. I sort of have this writing bucket list. It’s pretty short actually, but the list is things I want to write, mostly to challenge myself or for fun. Like, write a steampunk. Do you have a writing bucket list or maybe a goal for one day?
Honestly, right now my bucket list would include finishing all the blasted ideas I’ve already got, haha.  I’ve been struggling with the final books in three different series and it’s so hard to say goodbye.  I’m prolonging the inevitable, I know, but I’m attached.  They’re pretty much my children.

10. How did you come up with names for your characters?
 Sometimes it’s super easy and other times it’s not.  With the Kadenburg Shifters Series I had to do some research just because I knew their names would hold significant meaning to each of them.  Otherwise, my characters just tell me their names when they pop in.  It can be interesting and it can be a little insane, but it’s never dull!

11. What message do you want a reader to take away from 180 Days?
The biggest message I want readers to take away from 180 Days is the fact we are all human and we all deserve love.  I hope that if someone who happens to be trans reads it, they will know they are loved and they do have the support of others.  Some people can be real jerks, but there are real-life Jebs and Callums out there.  I want them to find hope, peace, and love within the pages of this story.  I want awareness to be spread and for minds to be opened.  If I can accomplish that then I’ve done my job as a writer.

12. So long as it’s not a spoiler, can you share the hardest scene you wrote in 180 Days?
I believe the hardest scene for me was writing out a flashback of Lydia being bullied by her peers during her childhood.  It’s reality, I know, but it was very hard to stomach.  Anyone who has been bullied or made fun of for being different will probably be able to relate to the scene.  I didn’t make it through the scene without shedding a few tears.  Children can be so cruel, you know?

Thank you so much!
Thank YOU! J










Check out more information on #IABBAddicts here
Join us every Thursday for IABB #Confessions


ABOUT THE BOOK

Author: T. E. Ridener

Title: 180 Days

Pages: 268

Genre: Transgender Contemporary Romance

Date published: September 30, 2015

Synopsis:
Lydia McIntosh left her old life behind when she said goodbye to Prairie Town, North Carolina and started over halfway across the country with her beloved Gran; away from her family, away from everyone who knew the person she once was, and from the identity she never quite wanted in the first place. When her grandmother passes away, she returns home and while she only intends to stay for the funeral, her grandmother has other plans, from the grave. Her will states that Lydia must remain in Prairie Town for six months in order to give her family and her old town a chance to get to know the new her, the real her.

Lydia has had years to adjust to long hair, summer dresses, and nail polish, but she understands her family will need time to get reacquainted with a daughter they’ve never known and a sister they’ve missed terribly. Anticipating the worst, as she always has, Lydia’s feelings about her old town begin to change when she meets her brother’s best friend, Callum. Callum is kind and more accepting than she could have ever imagined and she’s falling for him.

When her 180 days are over, will she be able to say goodbye to the family she’s missed so much? Will she survive her mother’s endless intolerance? Can she really leave the man who acknowledges her past and still wants her?




EXCERPT

Her laughter died down as she stared at him. “I want to, you know—to trust you. I really do.” “Then take a chance.” He whispered, gripping her chin lightly and tilting her head back. Inching forward, he waited for a sign, to continue, to back off. “I wish I could.” Moisture glistened in her eyes. “But it isn’t that easy and you know it. I fought really hard to get to this point in my life, Callum.” God, hearing his name fall from her lips was nothing short of heavenly. “You don’t have to fight alone anymore, Lydia. When I said I liked you, I meant it. I mean it. You’ve been so brave and courageous this whole time. What’s keeping you from taking another risk?” She sucked in a breath and released it in a shaky sigh. The distance between them was minimal and all it would take was one small movement to bring their lips together. His heart was thundering in his ears as he cradled her face between both hands and lowered his mouth to brush lightly against hers. She gasped, but didn’t pull away. However, feeling her lips tremble against his, Callum did. “You’ve never been kissed before, have you?” He asked, his voice husky from desire. He’d be lying if he said his jeans weren’t extremely tight at the moment. Lydia was gorgeous and his body had taken a quick liking to hers, but his parents had raised him to be a gentleman. “No,” she whispered. “Is that bad?” “No.” He replied, grinning. “It’s not bad, Lydia. I just want your first kiss to be one you’ll never forget.” She smiled the most beautiful smile he’d ever seen and her cheeks warmed beneath his touch. “I don’t really imagine it getting any better than that.” “You can’t be serious.” He blinked. “You think that was a real kiss?” “Well, no, but…” She lowered her head and her hair fell down, covering her face from his view. “I don’t really believe that Hollywood’s depictions of romance are accurate.” “Hollywood?” He laughed. Loud. “Sugar, this is the south. We don’t pull none of that Hollywood stuff around here.” Lifting her head until their gazes met, Callum leaned in and laid one on her she wouldn’t soon forget. Their lips molded together and if it was sloppy, he didn’t notice. The only thing he could focus on was how sweet and perfect her mouth felt against his. Absolute perfection.

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR



T.E. Ridener resides in the small community of Gray, Kentucky with her equally eccentric yet amazingly interesting family. Miss Ridener has written a handful of novels as well as various short stories during her career as a writer. When she is not writing, she enjoys listening to nearly every genre of music, watching movies, and spending time with her niece and nephew. Her greatest accomplishment to date has been The Blood Betrayal Series, with characters she dreamed up while she was still a teenager. She believes that the Blood Betrayal Series will go far one day, despite the overrating of vampires in the past few years. According to her, vampires will never go out of style even if their fashion choices do!




GIVEAWAY

Tell me if you've ever wanted to read a novel featuring a transgender character and why. I may just choose you to...
Posted by T. E. Ridener-Author on Tuesday, November 24, 2015


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Mama Taught Me To Share: Bonfire Edition

If you follow me ANYWHERE I'm positive that you have seen me mention a fire night or twenty along with a picture or thirty. I LOVE FIRES! We do them A LOT. We roast hot dogs, sausages, marshmallows, make mountain pies and s'mores... the works. And it's freaking yummy. We invite our friends and family, or we just have an "intimate" fire. As intimate as one can get with a 6 year old or teenager/s attending. But we love having fires and going to our friend's fires. 

Seriously. I'm a PA girl...fire is in my blood. (Okay, not LITERALLY...but you know what I mean.)

We've been to crazy big fires, small fires, fires in a hole in the ground, fires in an above ground pit, even had fires in an old grill and a tiny old camping grill. A fire is a fire is a fire. Unless it's a house fire or... okay, so some fires are better than others. We like the intentional and safe fires. 

Anyway, this summer we accepted an invite to a fire at a friend's house and they unintentionally taught me something amazing. So, I'm going to share it with you. If you go to fires or have your own... Ya know what, you can use this tip or not. I thought it was cool and it helps when I'm working scenes out in my head.

We all get junk mail, right? What do you normally do with it? Tear the envelope in half and drop it in the garbage can. That's what I usually did. Sometimes I'd take notes on the envelope if it was blank. What do you do with the kid's worksheets from any school help/learning books? Once completed, they met the garbage can, too. (Maybe you'd save one or two sheets as mementos. I don't know.) What about those pieces of mail that you worry about just dropping in the trash because it has important information on it? Bill stubs you've already paid? Bank account summaries (if you haven't gone completely paperless)? Crappy, junky magazines? Old magazines the children have cut up?

You can use those for your fires. We start our fires with news paper or cardboard or whatever's available as we try to avoid using lighter fluid. Sure, they don't produce the best scent...but on a chilly night it boosts the heat. Also, it saves on your trash/recycling/paper shredder. 

 
You can make burn logs.

Now, I separate by paper texture. Not only because I'm weird, but because we've found what works best for our preferences. The adds and magazines and newspaper works best to help start the fire, and the paper logs are for when the fire is already going. You can do it however you want. :)

What you need: paper & rubber bands

Step One: Collect your magazines, junk mail, scrap paper, old bills, oops prints, etc. 
Step Two: Keep the rubber band handy.
Step Three: OPTIONAL Remove the staples. It won't burn and won't hurt, but I'm the one that digs through the ashes days after a fire to fish out the metal pieces...they don't vanish and I won't let the husband put the metal pieces in the garden or anything. So I fish the nails and what not out and chuck them in recycling bin or trash (depending on what it is...if I can tell)




















So I just remove the pesky staples because they're harder to fish out of the fire pit. You can do what works for you.

Step Four: Roll them. Wrap the roll with a rubber band while you set up more papers to continue rolling.



Tip: Keep your roll tight. It burns longer the tighter it is and it won't fall apart when you move it if the roll is tight.

All you do is keep rolling. My rolls aren't done yet.


When you've got a decent log going, you can wrap it with twine or probably just paste the last sheet. Then, you put that sucker on the fire.

It will produce more ash than the wood does, but we have a decent sized pit and keep up with it so it hasn't been an issue.

**I do not advocate minors starting fires without adult supervision, using paper logs in a fire place or to heat your home, starting fires in unsafe locations, or starting fires during storms, rain, wind advisories, etc. **

Yeah, I just took all the fun out right? Too bad.

Stay safe ya'll! Don't burn important things you need to keep either!

Enjoy your warm fires! I can't wait for our next! One week away! YAY!

Also, thank you to my friend for accidentally showing me this trick....for as long as I've been doing fires I never even thought about it. This friend also makes paper bricks, but I don't have a press so I haven't tackled that technique. 

Do you have any tips or tricks to make life easier? Or warmer. Hah!







Monday, November 9, 2015

Twisted Destiny: The Soul Mate Series book 3

I want to apologize. I seem to apologize a lot with series, but regardless, I am truly sorry. This series is so much fun, but it's also incredibly tough to write. I can't really explain it because I don't exactly understand my own holdup.

When I wrote True Connection in 2012, I didn't have too many distractions other than my family. Also, I didn't know what I was doing at all. Would it be worth the time? Who would read it? Would I let anyone read it? I didn't know and I had no expectations with it either. No one knew about it until I was finished or almost finished. It was just me and the story. Back then, I had a clear view of each story and took notes in a notebook. I have those notes still, but since then, so much has changed. After True Connection was complete, and I had two people who would read it that weren't related to me, Emma Hart and Carey Heywood, I got their feedback and started making changes. Then I had an editor and things weren't as smooth as either of us expected. There were a lot of errors, plot holes, personal happenings for each of us that made everything tense on top of it... and we stopped. I was disappointed but not in her, in myself. Her and I are still friends, and I highly respect her. She's amazing. At the start of 2013, with help from my Critique Partner, I overhauled the entire book. There were SO MANY changes to True Connection that I knew no matter what, the 65,000 words written for Soul Promise would need changed, too.

Fast forward to now: I spend a lot of time going back through what I have written to make sure the timeline is correct and I'm not making something happen too fast. Not only that, Aisling is new. She wasn't an "original" character since book one, so it's taken some time to get to know her. Just when I think I know her, she does something that surprises me. And a lot of times, I take a pause and go back just to make sure I'm getting her right.

My personal life has had some changes, big ones. My medical condition doesn't allow me to sit for long periods of time and my daughter is in kindergarten this year with a cyber charter school. So I have to move a lot and also guide my feisty kindergartner through school.

Anyway, without sounding like I'm making excuses, I just wanted to apologize for taking so long to get this book out. I am working. I promise you that. But at this moment, I don't have a release date or even an estimate. Writer's block is very consuming and seems to set in sporadically. I just can't guess when it'll happen again or if it will.

For your patience, I'll let you with this excerpt from Twisted Destiny. I don't like sharing much that's unedited, but I think this is the perfect time to share more than a one liner with you all. I have redacted a few lines and changed some things around so it wouldn't spoil anything. So when you read the whole thing, you might recognize this scene, but it will be different (better too....you know, cleaner. LOL)

Twisted Destiny
The Soul Mate Series

Copyright © Rachel Walter


Stone cold arms wrap around my shoulders and under the backs of my knees. I try to hide the disgust consuming me but I groan with the sudden lurch of my stomach as I’m hoisted in the air.
“She is a plump one,” a gravely voice comments followed by a loud squeak. The air shifts and suddenly my senses are assaulted with scents of lavender, cinnamon, and smoke.
“Put her in the den with him.”
Shoes clump as I’m jostled around. Dust and mildew invade the cinnamon and suddenly, all I can smell is something rotting. I gag. Quickly turning my head, I retch and retch again when I hear the contents of my stomach splat on the floor.
I open my eyes and see two rotting corpses and a few unmoving rodents scattered on the hardwood floor. The floorboards creak as I'm set on my feet and shoved further into the room of dead.
“Father,” he announces. “Aisling Haw-,”
“I know who she is fool, leave,” a weathered masculine voice shouts.
Panic fills me. He can’t leave me here with their dead! He winks at me before he steps toward the mangled wooden door behind him and quickly disappears, shutting it between us.
If this room is any indication as to what my future will be like, I'm in bigger trouble than I thought.
“You smell of shifters,” the voice says sounding intrigued.
“I live in a shifter territory,” I explain and note that my voice sounds smaller than normal.
“Hmm… Yes. I can smell my old friends on you. Perfect.”
I swallow roughly and fist my hands at my sides. “What do you want with me?” Slowly, I turn around and try to catch a glimpse of the man with the awful voice. “How am I supposed to save anyone?”
He clucks his tongue and then footsteps draw nearer. “My son has spoken too much. Such a shame, too,” he says in my ear.
I squeak and spin around, coming face to face with scarlet eyes. I swallow my scream and take a step away from him.
“It was my fault. I wouldn’t stop asking questions. He gave few answers and then I don’t know what happened.” I shrug with my lie. “I woke up here.”
His black clothed hand inches closer to me and in a smooth motion, he wraps his long skinny fingers around my shoulder. “Don’t be afraid my child. This is only the beginning of a beautiful partnership.” With a wave of his hand, the smell of death vanishes and is replaced by the succulent scents of warm vanilla and lilacs. The remains of the dead disappear and we’re standing in a warm, white marble lined hallway.
“Come, I have much to tell you,” his voice seemed to have grown younger with the wave of his hand. “This is such fun. It’s been far too long since I’ve had visitors.”
Part of me wants to ask how long, but the smarter part of me surprisingly keeps a lid on my questions.
            A soft buzz touches my mind and a painful burn runs through my insides, circling my heart. I touch my hand to my chest and close my eyes. 

*


I hope you've enjoyed this! As soon as I have better news regarding Twisted Destiny, I will let you all know with announcements EVERYWHERE!

Later this week I will answer another reader question and possibly another interview with a new-to-me author. If you have any questions you'd like me to answer in post form, don't be shy! :) Have a fabulous Monday bookworms! <3 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Introducing: Barbara Lieberman

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing a new to me author. So here's a bit about Barbara Lieberman:



Can you remember the first book you read that made you love literature?

No. I have been reading books since I learned to read from cereal boxes. I can't remember far back enough to recall a time I didn't love books and everything about them. That love has only increased and deepened as I've gotten older.


It's been said that authors leave pieces of themselves in their works, do you believe this? If so, what is a piece of you that you left in Message on the Wind

There are always little pieces of me in my stories. In Message on the Wind, Ellen Price is most definitely inspired by my daughter, Ellie. And, the kind of relationship Ellie and Alex is inspired by my own parents. Ironically, I wrote the story 15 years ago and it was just 8 years ago that I got on a train to start a new life out West. So, there is that as well, after the fact. In To Miss the Stars, Emma encourages Eugenia to try her hand at making scented sugars, something I have made for years.


Do you set your books in locations you have visited, or base them off of locations you've visited? 

Not at all. In fact, so far my stories are based in places I've never been. The story comes to me and I write it as it comes, including where and when it takes place. I wrote Message on the Wind and only later researched Wyoming to get it right. I found that I had pretty much nailed it, without ever having been there. I still wonder how that's possible.


Do you prefer to write at a specific time of day or do you write whenever the mood strikes? 

The stories come when they come and the characters speak up when they feel like it. I have to have a notebook and pen, or voice recorder, with me at all times, because I never know when a story line or scene will appear. On the other hand, whenever there is uninterrupted time, I can sit down and write by just going to 'that place' where the stories come from and there they are.


What is the hardest part about being an author?

 The hardest part for me was the first time strangers read my book. They had no emotional investment in me, no reason to be kind and encouraging, so I felt as if I were walking down the street naked during a huge parade at a political convention. Terrifying! Fortunately, it has all turned out very well.


In your opinion, does the literary world need more of anything in particular?

We need more of us who are in it for everyone to succeed. More people willing to link arms and support all those who dream of publishing their writing. More editors willing to work with first-time authors. And better business models for self-publishing authors on sites like Amazon, so we can be seen and read.


How do you find "new to you" authors? 

From online author events, from the weekly Confessions on Indie Authors and Book Blogs, and from live author events, which is my favorite way. There is something very special about meeting an author at an event and then reading their book, or meeting someone whose book you loved.


Is there any genre you wish to write in just for fun? 

I actually am doing this now. I am working on a dragon story for an anthology that is due out in May, 2016. Not my usual kind of story so I'm enjoying breaking out into something new.


Do you base your characters off of people in your personal life? 

I have, mainly my daughter. And I have a children's book coming out that is based on my son. More often, it's things the characters do that are based on people I know. For example, Marie and Cameron McEwen drew sketches of their dream home, when they began to build their new life in the Wyoming Territory (part of To Reap a Whirlwind, coming out in January). This is based on my parents doing that same thing when they were just married and dreaming about their own dream home.

What is your number 1 tip to newbie authors? 

Get an editor. You want to put out the best possible book you can and an editor is essential. Really put the work in up front, so that it's the best version of your story. The book, and you, deserve that.

Do you have any suggestions for authors wishing to push themselves to be better at their craft? 

I am always trying to be a better writer. For me, each book should be better than the next. So, read articles on improving. Have beta-readers go through your manuscript and listen to what they have to say. Take in what works for you, discard what doesn't. But do listen to constructive criticism. It hurts at first but it will make you better.


What is something you wish you could "master" within the writing/publishing process? 

I want to start my own publishing company. I love supporting other authors by editing and formatting their books, as well as encouraging them when they get discouraged and believing in their dreams when no one else does. It is definitely the next big thing I want to master.

One last thing... sales of my books and book swag support Project Semicolon (www.projectsemicolon.org) and my Treasure of Ravenwood: A Fairy Tale is a Reading is Fundamental book, supporting children in knowing the joy of owning a book when they might not otherwise know what that is like.


Thank so you much Barbara! Here's her post through #IABBAddict





Check out more information on #IABBAddicts here
Join us every Thursday for IABB #Confessions


ABOUT THE BOOK
Author: Barbara Lieberman

Title: Message on the Wind

Pages: 458

Genre: Historical Romance

Date published: April 9, 2015

Synopsis:
Would you follow your heart, if it meant leaving behind everything and everyone you've ever known? Board a train with Ellen Price and travel to a new life. Even as she begins a new life, she'll change the lives of all she meets.



EXCERPT
Ellie turned quickly to run back to the wagon. She abruptly ran into the front of a man and almost fell down, dropping her purchases all over the ground. Looking up, she realized that he must be the tallest man she had ever seen. Daniel Cooper was tall but this man was huge! He had very tanned skin and black eyes that were blazing at her. His very long, black hair was pulled back and tied in a way that was long out of fashion. His hands were on his hips and he was clearly incensed about something. "Excuse me," Ellie said, surprised by the obvious anger on his face and wondering why it was directed at her. "I didn't see you. I just need to get back to my friends..." As she tried to reach for her packages, the giant stepped in her way, his eyes narrowing. "What happened to Little Flower?" he demanded.
"Little Flower?" Ellie asked, confused for a moment by the unusual name. "Oh, you mean the woman? The clerk in the store gave her a difficult time about buying a blanket. First, he blatantly refused to wait on her and then he tried to charge her five dollars! She left without it so, I bought the blanket for her." She paused in her explanation, suddenly, tilted her head and stared up at him. This was quite difficult given the differences in their heights. "Why do you want to know, so rudely I might add?" The stranger looked Ellie up and down rather deliberately, his black eyes returning to stare into hers once more. Having found herself in similar situations before, Ellie simply endured his frank appraisal. He seemed surprised she challenged him, her hands now on her hips defiantly, but then bullies usually were surprised when anyone stood up to them. This one seemed no exception. His expression relaxed only a little. "I am usually the one protecting The People around here." "The People? I'm not familiar...with…?" Ellie asked, noticing he was still staring at her. She continued to stare right back at him and tried not to notice just how handsome he was. "Indians." The man's eyes narrowed further as he said this, as if expecting some reaction from her.
"Have we met?" "Oh, well," Ellie stammered, suddenly embarrassed at her own behavior. "I didn't realize that you meant... or that she was... well, it doesn't really matter that she is one of the People, does it? What a lovely way of putting that, much better than Indian. Anyway, he shouldn't have treated her that way. I only saw someone being taken advantage of. I do tend to stick my nose in when I see that. A terrible habit of mine but there you have it." Thinking the incident resolved, Ellie again moved to retrieve her things from the ground. "Now, if you will excuse me, sir, I really must find my friends..." The man moved to block her yet again, apparently not quite finished with her yet.

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR


GIVEAWAY
Message on the Wind Prize Pack includes:
MOTW tote bag, MOTW mug, MOTW pendant, MOTW ribbon bookmark, Arrowleaf Balsamroot seeds, and my Re-imaginng Happily Ever After pin.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A Question From A Reader

Over on my Facebook page I asked if anyone had any questions that I would answer at some point this month. I didn't think anyone would respond, mostly because of the limited reach my page gets. (Everyone complains about facebook status views, so I'll save you that complaint.) Well, much to my surprise, I had someone ask me a question!


Question: Tell me honestly, do you like Twilight?




Honestly?

Nope, I don't like it.

Now, before you gasp at me or disregard my response, hear me out. I don't like Twilight because I actually love it.



The love I feel for Twilight was far from Insta-Love. Before it was optioned for a movie, a friend of mine gave me Twilight. She said, "It's not your typical vampire romance, but give it a chance, I think you'll like it." I don't remember what else she had said to "sell me" on borrowing the book, but I did borrow it.

I'm terrible with borrowed books. Not that I forget to give them back or destroy them, no. I'm afraid I'll mess it up or change its smell somehow just by touching it, let alone breathing on it. So a lot of times, when someone lends me a book, it sits in one spot and never gets opened until I either purchase my own copy or just give it back. Not always though, I have read several borrowed books, but yeah I'm odd.

Anyway, I remember sitting at my kitchen table in our old house with Twilight in hand and I stared at the preface and read the first sentence probably 80 times without retaining what it said. I figured I wasn't in the mood to read at the time so I sat it down and went about my business. A few days later I tried starting from Chapter 1. I couldn't get through the first page. After several times of trying I gave the book back to my friend and told her it just wasn't for me.

About a year later, my sister told me to try again. I did. Same results. I just couldn't get into it.

By the time my brother told me to read it, Twilight the movie was getting ready to release. I ignored him and ignored the movie and book.

Then my girl, my stepdaughter, said she was super excited for the movie. Then she saw the movie in theaters. She wanted to own the movie, the books, and to marry Edward Cullen.

We bought her each movie as they were released on DVD and between me and my sister, we purchased her the series in book form. She read and reread those suckers. Her and my brother made me watch Twilight and then New Moon. When Eclipse came to theaters, my friend, stepdaughter, and myself went to the theater. I barely paid attention to Twilight and New Moon even though they were played at least a dozen times each. At the theater, I actually paid attention to Eclipse. By the end of the movie, I told myself that I would give the books another shot.

I picked up Twilight one evening, and found that same resistance at the beginning, but I forced myself to continue. I'm really glad I did, too. I fell in love little by little. Not with Bella or Edward or Jacob or my Twilight husband Emmett (LOL), I fell in love with the story itself. It's awkward and cute, the sparkly vampire thing is still a little far fetched for me as I'm a lover of the scary vamps that burn in the sun, but it didn't turn me away from the story. By the time Breaking Dawn part 1 came to theaters, I had read the novels maybe 3 times over.

More and more as time moves on, like it always does too quickly, I find that I appreciate the story and Stephanie Meyer more than before. I also thank my girl and my siblings and that one friend for forcing me to read the books and watch the movies. They all know my resistance with popular in your face things...but they pestered me enough that I finally gave it a REAL chance.

I bought my stepdaughter and I a copy of the anniversary edition and she knows she will probably read it before me. It's new, and EVERYONE has had something to say about it. I'll read it when some of the newness fades. Until then, I look at it every day and think "Yeah, I'll get to you soon my precious." It's a pretty book. Books are precious. So, yes, I love Twilight. It's one of those things where you have to accept the annoying and ugly parts to accept the whole story. Its fiction. Fiction can go ANYWHERE. Sometimes we can't "get over" certain aspects, and that's okay, too. I'm sure I share a common interest with nearly everyone, but it may not be my favorite or go to. I'm a very eclectic person.

Do you have a question for me? Don't be afraid to ask! I love answering questions about as much as I love asking them.



Have a great day Bookworms! :)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Introducing: Maria DeSouza

The second author I have this week is Maria DeSouza. She was happy to entertain me with an interview. A Halloween-y interview, too. 




 Halloween is right around the corner! So, what is your favorite horror movie of all time?     

Halloween and A Nightmare on Elm Street movies are my all-time favorite movies for Halloween. 

Do you have a marathon movie day near Halloween?

I will watch some movies with my kids like Scream or Nightmare Before Christmas.  I have a Tim Burton marathon during the week of Halloween.  Halloween day, I usually spend time having a party and trick or treating, and come home to watch the scarier movies with my husband like Insidious or IT.

The worst Halloween costume you’ve ever worn is…   

I was a witch and my mom painted my face green.  Apparently, I was allergic to the face paint she used and my face was swollen during the day and itchy and I looked like a swollen green faced witch.  People thought it was part of the costume, like a mask but it was my face.  :/

What is the most important aspect of writing in the thriller genre?  

To me, having the reader in constant fear of what might happen is a key factor in a thriller.  I also think that when you build a character so evil or scary that your readers are still talking about them after they have finished reading the book.

If you had the power to bring one actor or writer back from the dead, who would that be and why them?   

I would bring back Heath Ledger.  I feel that he died before he could accomplish great things as an actor.  He was also great on the eyes!

Say that you and I are going to a haunted mansion. You happen to know that this particular mansion has a room filled with clown figurines, paintings, statues, and the like. And you happen to know that I’m terrified of clowns…
What type of friend would you be?

A. “No Rachel! Do NOT go in that room!” And save me from seeing any of it.
B. Do you shove me inside the room without warning and hold the door shut so I can’t get out.
C. Go in with me, pretending to care and hold me, only to chase me around with one of the clowns.
D. Tell me I can do it and go with me without being a butthole.
E. Other.

I would totally go in there and pretend I had no idea it would scare you.  Possibly chase you with a clown, but all in good fun.  I also know you would be the first to throw a fake spider on me!

If you were trapped in a world similar to The Walking Dead, how many zombies would you kill and how long do you think you’d last?  

I would be the Michonne equivalent of my Walking Dead world.  The quiet yet deadly person who slices zombie’s head with a katana sword.  Again, in my world I would last forever.   I would also lock myself up in a gun store and raid all the houses of people who coupon because you know they will have stocked up on a lot of food. 

You’re a parent. Be honest with me, do you enforce the Halloween Candy Parent Tax? What is one candy you always go after?   

As a parent, it is my sworn duty to enforce this mandatory tax that is only payable in KitKats, Twix, or Snickers.  Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are also welcome to be used to bribe this officer to skip doing chores. 

When I was a teen, I joined a group of friends and we visited an abandoned prison. What is something you did as a teen around Halloween?   

I went with friends to places that were reportedly haunted, like the Elizabeth Insane Asylum, and a butcher farm, or cemeteries after dark.   No wonder I have a morbid mind! 

As an author, what do you struggle the most with?   

Reviews!!!!!  I wish my readers would leave reviews after reading my book, or anyone’s book for that matter.  When you don’t leave a review, it makes us think that you don’t like the book.  Authors might end a series early because of lack of interest in it.  Authors do read reviews, especially if you’re constructive in your wording.

What is the creepiest line you’ve ever read? What book was it from?   

“We all float down here.” IT by Stephen King    It was the first book I read by him and by far the scariest thing I read.

Do you have a favorite Halloween themed poem?    

Anything by Edgar Allen Poe is my Halloween go to for poems.

Do you think the literary world needs more of anything in particular?   

I don’t think the Literary World needs anything in particular.  I do think that authors should embrace each other more in terms of supporting each other, instead of putting each other down.   Being original is also a key element.  When someone becomes popular writing a step brother book, it doesn’t mean we need thousands of books about that one topic.  

Has there been a scene or line that you’ve written that gave yourself chills? Can you share it?   

I wrote a scene in Love Lost that involved Lucio, my bad guy.  It was a glimpse into his past with Selene.  I ended up deleting it and adding it to my Deleted scenes document.  I will add it eventually to one of the later books in the series or as deleted scenes to the series boxed set.


What are the top five things you’ve googled for your writing that you would have a hard time explaining to others WHY you’ve googled it?   

I have googled crime scenes, strip clubs, human trafficking, mind of a killer/psychopath, and horrible ways to die.   I would say that my google history may lead people to think I am a serial killer or harboring one.   But I swear I’m not!  


Thank you so much Maria! It was a blast having you!

Here's a little more about Maria:

Maria DeSouza
I am a NJ native, not to be mistaken for the craziness that is the NJ Housewives or Jersey Shore! I have two children and a loving husband, who are my life and family that makes me want to scream at times, but I love them. I started my affair with reading and writing at a young age. I loved where books took me, and wished for the day when I would meet my dream boat. (Yes, I referred to my future man as a dream boat. Child of the 80s here!) I grew up on Stephen King, Nora Roberts, and anything my library would let me borrow. I would always grab a notebook and start writing about the books I read because I wanted the story to continue. I never took it seriously until I had a friend a few years ago tell me that I needed to publish my work after I wrote down a short story. My reaction was…yeah, right! The words stuck with me and I was constantly asked, “Did you write more? Are you done?” A back injury put my writing on hold for almost 2 yrs and last year, I found the WIP file and started reading. Then, I started writing and adding to it. That little dream turned story will be my debut novel, Love Lost.  I’m currently finished with Hidden Heart and working on Book 2 in the series, Lost Soul.


Contact Maria-


Love Lost



Hidden Heart (Coming Soon)